University strikes turn violent as protesters storm academic building


first_imgA spokesman for vice-Chancellor membership body said that a “good natured group” of around 16 people entered the building at around 11.30am, who ate food, drank soft drinks and played music. Lecturers at 57 universities – including Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Durham and Exeter – took the first of a series of days of industrial action at campuses on Thursday, in a row over changes to staff pensions. More universities will join the walk out as strikes continue over the coming weeks. More than a million students could face disruption if the full 14 days of strike go ahead as planned, as half a million teaching hours will be lost. Members of the University and College Union (UCU), which represents lecturers and campus staff, are striking over proposed changes to pensions covered by the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), which they say could make them £10,000 worse off each year in retirement. Three in five students back the striking lecturers, according to a YouGov poll conducted on the eve of the walk out. Sam Gyimah, the universities minister, urged both sides to get back to the negotiating table, saying he was “deeply concerned” about the impact strikes will have on students.  Meanwhile, Amber Rudd, the home secretary, urged lecturers to “get back to work”, adding that “people need to get their degrees”.  Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, tweeted in support of lecturers who decided to break the picket lines and carry out their classes as usual, saying: “I salute you”.  The head of Newcastle University’s became the latest vice-Chancellor to break ranks and announce his support for the striking lecturers.   Professor Day said he “absolutely supported staff’s decision to strike”, adding that he did not  know “what else they could do to express their concerns about the current situation”. University And College Union Protest at Cardiff University Credit: Barcroft Media Some excellent lecturers *are* going in to work today. I salute you. #committed— Elizabeth Truss (@trussliz) 22 February 2018center_img University And College Union Protest at Cardiff University  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Sally Hunt, the UCU general secretary, said academic staff have been “overwhelmed” by the support they have received from students.A spokesperson for Sussex University said: “There was a brief incident between students earlier today, which was resolved very quickly.  University staff were on hand immediately to support our students, as they always would.”  “We have been proud to see the collegiate nature of the Sussex community today, where staff and students have been incredibly respectful of the many different points of view that people have.  It’s the very spirit that underpins our University.”A spokesperson for UUK said that changes are necessary to put the scheme on a secure footing, but added that they “remain at the negotiating table” and will consider any “credible, affordable solutions” from the union. University strikes turned violent as protesters stormed an academic building to demand that students in the lecture theatre join the walk out.A demonstrator was allegedly attacked by a student during a clash in Sussex Univesity’s Jubilee Building, where a Psychology lecture was taking place. “One of our marchers was assaulted by a student when we disrupted the lecture,” the Sussex Supports the Strike group wrote in a statement on their Facebook page.“The marcher in question was violently tackled into a wooden table by another student,” the group claimed.Joanna Pawlik, an art history lecturer at the university, told The Telegraph: “We’ve had a lot of support from the students. We don’t like the way the pensions situation is being imposed on us which is why we have taken this action.”A group of protesters gained access to the Universities UK (UUK) headquarters in central London, where they staged a sit-in. last_img

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